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OpalToney7-24.jpg (37075 bytes)As I Was Saying
By Opal Toney

Keeping old things...
I know what the Bible has to say about savin’ old things that will rust and which moths enjoy chewin’ on. But, I have to tell you I have a problem with part of these words of advice.
It’s not that I don’t know how wise it is, but…you see, I like old rusty things. I’m always on the lookout for most anything that’s been ‘round a while.
Now, Julius didn’t share my obsession of old things. In fact, more than once I can recall him sayin’ “Why are you always draggin’ old things home? Why don’t you get rid of some of ‘em before it all takes over?”
As I sat there thinkin’ where I might start, this thought popped out, “You better watch out, you may be first on the list.” After all he was fourteen years older than me.
Of course, he didn’t bat an eye most of the time when I might need help, if I found somethin’ I couldn’t handle, even if he did shake his head while doin’ it.
And I’ve kept right on ‘til today. “It’s” about to take over.
There’s times when I wake up in the middle of the night and wonder when I’m gone what in the world will my kids do with all this stuff. No doubt the fire boys will need to be alerted, for I can visualize the biggest bonfire this end of town has ever seen.
But on the other hand, some of my kids appreciate old things, too, so they may fuss over a few piles.
One of my treasures is a little book that was brought to me by two sisters, after their mother’s death. Inside a message reads, “I have willed this book to Opal Toney. Please give it to her when I am gone.”
And then there’s another, “Opal dear, this is a very old book. I want you to have it. If you don’t want it-give it away or throw it away.”
Yes, books are one of my great joys, not that I have read them all. I enjoy lookin’ at ‘em; the older and more worn the better.
Of course, none are rusty, some of the pages are loose or maybe even missin’, but they are ole friends to me.
And I am almost as bad with magazines; they are everywhere.
The other day I came across some old ones, I hadn’t seen in no tellin’ how long. It was warm weather, like we’ve been a havin’, the kind of day I like and everyone else complains about. I decided it would feel good to rest a spell and read through one or two.
As I was browsing among the magazines a story caught my eye. The tale soon had me hurryin’ to turn the page, you know the kind, before long, I was deep into another world and time.
One of my kids came through, ‘bout the time I yelled, “Oh, no! I can’t believe this! I have been readin’ this long story and now I’ve just come to where it says, “Continued next month.”
I just kept fuming and carrin’ on ‘til she finally reassured, “Why, Mama, don’t get so upset, you can just finish it next month. It will give you something to look forward to.
“There won’t be a next month for this magazine!” I agonized. And of course, she wanted to know why, so I told… “Because this is an old magazine.”
Next Question: “How old, what’s the date?” And I replied, “Would you believe 1907?” She shook her head and went on her way.
As I was saying, I have a problem. Now, I’ll probably forever be wonderin’ what took place the next month…it ought to be against the law to use the word “continued”…Uh, as I was saying…

honeyandflag.jpg (61206 bytes)The View From Here
By Katherine Veno

A man of many talents...
I have had the privilege to work with Kerry Yancey at The Monitor since 2000. We had gone through several editors in a very short period of turnover and turmoil, and then he came in with his big camera and lots of new ideas.
My desk was in the typesetting/editorial area, and he took over the editor’s office behind me. He was super busy getting settled in, and we all wondered how our working lives would change with yet another supervisor with different ways of doing things.
He and I would butt heads a bit at first until we got used to one another and learned to respect each other’s very strong personalities and individuality. He was not a run of the mill type of man. A collector of Star War’s memorabilia, and an avid reader, he was knowledgeable in many areas. As the weeks melted into months, we began to find common ground.
One of my favorite times was when he would design the fall football insert. It is a huge undertaking and each year the sports editor has to combine photographs, stories and history along with the promise that lies within the heart of Friday nights in Texas. He loved the boys of fall, and it showed in his work. He showcased them in glorious photographs of their stern faces and muscular shoulders. Within his stories they could read about their glory days in the future to their own children.
Because at that time I was a rodeo reporter who dabbled in other sports reporting and feature stories, he partnered with me on the cover shot which would run in color. His plan was to feature the strength of the high school football team stars with my horses, which were stars in their own realm of rodeo. It sounded rather far-fetched to me when he first discussed it with me, but he reassured me that if I showed up with three good looking muscular steeds, he would show up with the three top football stars from the major area high schools.
So, as I pulled my horse trailer beside the Canton Eagles football field that early morning, I wondered what sort of magic Kerry had in mind. I could see the quarterbacks of the Eustace Bulldogs, Mabank Panthers, Kemp Yellowjackets, Canton Eagles, Edgewood Bulldogs, Fruitvale Bobcats, Grand Saline Indians, Van Vandals and Wills Point Tigers all dressed out holding their helmets with their uniformed team behind the while Kerry snapped their team photographs. I unloaded my big paint horse Hollywood, my Appaloosa, PocoDotz, and my trick horse, Mr. P.C., a palomino paint. I had the color and the muscle, and he had the dream.
Now it was time for Kerry and his big camera lens to make the magic happen. Like a Las Vegas master of illusion, he brought the three horses together in the middle of the field on the 50 yard line. They faced off with the three strong football players. Man to man, beast to beast, they stood at a face-off, and then he began the photo shoot.
The boys took the reins of the colorful geldings, and Kerry took the reins of the pictures that would forever freeze the six of them with their teams in respective competition. You had the smooth muscled beauty of the animal as a backdrop for the youth and handsomeness of the young players. The sun shone on them as he worked in the sun. His ever present towel there to protect his most prized possession, his camera. When that issue hit the stands, everybody in town was talking about the new wizard of print and photo at The Monitor.
He taught me how to get the best photographs at a parade. I worked alongside him at professional sporting events. He put me in the middle of the Kemp football field during a game and I thought I would get run over. He gave me a chance to shine.
Then he began to help me with “The View From Here” in 2004. By 2006 I had won first place in the Texas Press Association Better Newspaper Contest. Then I won second, then I won third. He kept me true to myself and to my style of writing. He fixed all my grammatical errors with a meticulous red pen. When I wrote something good he told me so. He never withheld a compliment or a word of encouragement.
I got an email from Kerry the Friday before his death the following Tuesday. He was congratulating me on my column winning second place in the 2010 contest which wrapped up in June. He said he had my award, and I needed to call him and see when he could write a story and take my picture. I had planned to call him the Tuesday he died at his desk going over his photographs from July 4. I regret not getting to talk to him so much. That is what happens when we procrastinate.
As horrible as it was, and as sad as the loss is for all of us who knew him, I think somehow that is where he was so content, and he would not have wanted to go to some sterile hospital if it was his time.
I believe Kerry Yancey, the man who loved everything about sports, newspapers, and Star Wars, would have wanted to leave this earth doing what he loved, and he did it just that way. He did it his way. He was a man of many talents.
In memory of Kerry Yancey
1954 2011

EmilyLundy4-2.jpg (36194 bytes)Escapades of Emily
By Emily Gail Lundy

Confusing Golden Years...
At least once a week someone will say in my presence, “I don’t know about this getting older. I can’t find anything, and I certainly can’t remember as I once could.” There is no perfect answer except if we wish to continue to live on earth, we probably will get older.
For some reason that old song about going down a “muddy road” makes me think the road of life gets muddier as we age. We learn to take short cuts, avoid the road, or get stuck in the worst drying-up puddle.
My metaphor of life really took a beating yesterday. A granddaughter came over to check on us. Then she hungered for fast food. She wanted me to accompany her for the drive. “Can I go like this? I asked, wearing my one pair of not-short shorts. “I don’t want to change, and I’ll stay in the car while you buy something.” Of course, this was fine but this 20 year old with long dark hair and long tanned legs said, “You don’t know Ganny. Some old man might find you a real looker.” No remark for this either.
But the next occurrence almost put me to bed. I drove my husband’s 1989 run-about, a car so small we have to stoop lower to get in it. I wanted to drive to Athens by myself for a purchase. First I needed a dollar diet cola in Malakoff. Then I went toward the west to get in the middle lane with fewer vehicles this far from the intersection. As I entered the lane, a car coming from Trinidad’s direction in the next lane honked, as though I was going to get in his lane too soon. I wasn’t. Soon I was going 55 mph eastward, drinking my cola, searching in my purse for lipstick, happy as I could be.
Then in my rear-view mirror I saw him. It was a male traffic officer trying to stop me with lights bright enough to be seen four miles in any direction. Once stopped, the officer asked if I was all right. He had been parked to the north of me when I pulled out with my cola. He thought I must have gotten too close to the other driver’s lane, making him honk, and as I drove on toward my destination, I had swerved a tad.
Now this little Honda I was in is the smallest car we’ve ever owned. It’s not the tightly controlled one we’ve had as some of our cars in the past could drive themselves straight ahead for a minute or two. But not the two cars we have now. Take one digit off the wheel, and the car tries to dip into the ditch.
I talked to the officer, trying to make sense. Then he asked me to step outside. I really felt old and feeble now. This man thought something physically was occuring; maybe he would send me back home or cart me off.
After giving the officer all my identifying forms, I told him I hardly drove much at all, never more than 25 miles away and mostly less in my own little community.
Of course, my driver’s license was expired, but I really like the picture of me on it, a life-time rarity. Soon I was free to leave and didn’t get a citation. The officer was as kind to me as a grandson. He suggested I renew my license soon. I had to continue my destination because I knew if I turned around somehow to go home, I’d take another chance at resembling a disabled driver.
I’d like all my roads to be smooth ones for a little longer.

 

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